College Students Aren't Getting Entrepreneurial Skills; Schools Need to Focus on Giving Students Start-Up Experience, According to New National Poll

May 13, 2011, 08:00 ET from Cogswell College

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Colleges are not focused enough on teaching the vital entrepreneurial skills American students need to compete globally and should implement more practical programs that enable them to create businesses while still in school, according to a new national survey on entrepreneurism and education released today.

Two out of three Americans say that as America faces increasing global competition, U.S. schools are not focused enough on providing entrepreneurial skills, according to the Zogby/463 poll commissioned by Cogswell College.

Americans also say that traditional teaching methods aren't the way to teach entrepreneurial skills. Overall, 73 percent report the best way to teach a student to become an entrepreneur is to enable them to create businesses or intern in start-ups. And 76 percent said that students launching a business while still in college will make them more successful in creating jobs and opportunities after graduation.

"Some entrepreneurs may be born while others made, but what is true is that all of them need to develop and hone the skills needed to create and grow a business," said Douglas K. Mellinger, vice-chairman and co-founder of Foundation Source and a trustee at Cogswell College. "We need to reinvent the way we prepare our students to enter the business world by enabling them to start and run businesses while in school."

The survey of 2,141 Americans from May 6-9, 2011, comes as millions of students graduate this spring and prepare to enter the workforce.  But they enter the workforce at a time of economic uncertainty and increasing global competition.

"Innovation and entrepreneurism are the secret sauce of the American economy," said. Dr. Chester D. Haskell, President of Cogswell College. "But as the global marketplace becomes more dynamic and competitive, Cogswell is adapting to ensure that its students are already entrepreneurs when they leave school, not just ready to become one."

Other insights from the Zogby/463 survey include:

  • Only one in 20 Americans currently think that college is where students become entrepreneurs. That may be due to the current model of providing students with principles of business management rather than hands-on opportunities creating and growing businesses. For example, most Americans (63 percent) think entrepreneurial skills are most learned from work experiences.
  • Seventy-nine percent say that having entrepreneurial skills is important for graduates to land a job.
  • Among the critical 18-24 age group:
    • Sixty-two percent said the most effective way to teach someone to become an entrepreneur was by creating a small business or interning in a start-up. Only 2 percent said it was through class work and lectures.
    • Sixty-nine percent said that work experience is where most learn the skills to become an entrepreneur.
    • Fifty-seven percent said that launching companies in college would make them more successful in creating companies and jobs after graduation.
    • Ninety-three percent said that entrepreneurship is "very important" to the future competitiveness of the American economy.

Additional information or a copy of the polling is available upon request.

About Cogswell College

Located in Silicon Valley, Cogswell offers bachelor degree programs in Digital Art and Animation (with majors in Game Development, Animation, Entertainment Design and 3D Modeling), Digital Audio Technology (with majors in Audio Production, Audio Engineering and Game Audio), Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Engineering. As one of the Bay Area's premier colleges, its novel academic approach offers an integrated model that emulates the industry environment – a collaborative, project-based, learning experience that uses multidisciplinary teams to take projects from concept to delivery.

SOURCE Cogswell College